Japanese culture is very unusual for us. Trying to understand local traditions or to measure them with your own, Western patterns, you can get into trouble. Often, knowledge about this amazing country comes from Hollywood movies. One of them, Diaries of a Geisha, revealed the nature of an unusual profession.

Geisha in Japan is called a woman who should entertain a client or guest. But you can argue about the methods used and the nature of the relationship. It is no coincidence that after the release of the American film, a book appeared by the most real geisha, who tried to debunk myths and tell the truth about her profession. The subject of the tape was taken by an interview, taken by Arthur Golden from Mineko Iwasaki.

But in Japan, the publication of these notes caused a scandal, Golden even sued. So who are the geishas really? It’s time to debunk a few popular myths about them.


Geisha – professional prostitutes.

Golden depicted Japanese geishas as professional keepers and prostitutes. In fact, their functions were more artistic than sexual. Geisha were dancers and singers who entertained guests with the help of games, arranged parties and allowed fun and interesting time. The motto of the geisha Kyoto says: “Our pride is that we show our art and do not descend to obscenities.” Not only did the geisha’s duty not include the provision of sexual services, since it was generally prohibited by the law of the Tokugawa shogunate of the 18th century. At this time the very woman’s profession arose. And the expression “wrap the hem to the left,” meaning to become a geisha, became a synonym for morality and modesty. Women of this profession, unlike courtesans, held the kimono with their left hand. Eloquent is the fact that the prohibition of prostitution in Japan in 1956, activities and lifestyle geisha has not touched. The myth itself was formed after the Second World War. Then the US troops were introduced into the ruined Japan. Many girls had to start selling their bodies for survival. To enhance the status and price, they began to call themselves geisha. So in America, this word has become a prostitute.

Geisha could have many patrons or partners.

Usually the geisha had a permanent patron, a patron in our submission. For all his life he could be alone and rarely when two people. Often, but not always, he was the actual husband of the woman and they had common children. But there have been cases when a geisha with his patron never ever entered into an intimate relationship. Relations did not anticipate this.

Geisha owned the art of sex.

In fact, geisha was not taught this, the ability to deliver intimate joys to the client was not needed at all. This was told by the same Meenek Iwasaki, the highest paid representative of the profession in the last century. The secret of success was completely different. Not without reason is the geisha motto: “Shine with happiness!”. Possession of supernatural sex techniques is a complete fiction. In modern “geisha schools” around the world, students are taught to own their intimate muscles. But this technique was born not in Japan, it was owned by virtually all women of Indochina. You can remember at least the famous sex show in Thailand. In this region, the anatomical features of the body of many women are such that they need to learn to own their intimate muscles. This will help ease childbirth. And girls are taught this skill almost from the cradle.


Virginity was sold at auction.

Arthur Golden in his book described even such a procedure, calling it a mizuage. The author told that such a custom was in the students melt and Oiran – komuro. When they acquired certain skills in their future profession and grew up, their virginity was sold to the client who will pay more. The geisha had in fact a similar ritual, but they did not trade virginity. The girl was made a woman with the help of a special man. He was attractive, mature, but not old.And the whole ceremony lasted 7 days. Such a ceremony was held long ago, when customs were still in vogue and Oiran. But for 150-200 years this procedure is not applied. Now the geisha students, who have parted with innocence, just change their hair.

Geisha sometimes blacken their teeth.

This tradition did exist in Japan, but it was common. Here, the teeth were painted black, showing their loyalty to something or someone. Tradition was abolished by the decree of the emperor, but the independent melt and the Oiran continued to do so. After the prohibition of prostitution, they began to engage in the same craft as the geishas, ​​but retained some of their traditions. So confusion began, and I began to attribute habits to geishas. But in the beginning, the professions were different.

Geisha wear wigs.

This statement, if true, is only partly true. So, students, majko, wear wigs, but from their own hair. And geisha wear wigs only at official events. And then, it happens because of an unexpected invitation, when there is no time to make a beautiful hairstyle. 100-150 years ago, geisha generally did not like wearing wigs. Yes, and they were very expensive then, which was simply too expensive. Hairstyles are very difficult for geishas, ​​they must be done for a long time and it is difficult to wear them safely on their heads. It is no coincidence that poor women for weeks slept with a special stand under their necks to keep their hair beautifully decorated. But now the girls are no longer ready to make such sacrifices and sometimes resort to the help of wigs.

Geishas spent their entire lives in actual slavery.

Those geisha who succeeded succeeded in buying themselves out of the oxy (home) and starting their own business. Yes, and the institution was headed by ex-geishas, ​​who, at the same time, show their efficiency and perseverance. These places in the native patriarchal Japan were unusual islands of matriarchy. Men were allowed here either as clients or as servants. But they all ran a woman into oxy. It is rather interesting that a geisha is considered to be a symbol of female obedience and passivity, living toys for wealthy men. But the representatives of this profession consider themselves the most emancipated and advanced women.

The house of the geisha was a brothel.

Okiya has nothing to do with the public house. Yes, geisha to the same and guests here do not take and do not entertain. Even the father of a girl living here can only be in the living room. The exception is only for servants and priests. And meetings with customers are held in tea houses, ochaya.

Geisha is a woman’s profession.

The very word from Japanese is translated as a man of art. It is worth noting that it is not a woman, but a person. It turns out there have been men in the history of Japan and a geisha. Moreover, the profession itself was originally male. In the period of the fighting kingdoms in the XV-XVI centuries the profession “otogishi” appeared. These men, with commanders, told military stories, stories, supported the conversation. But with the establishment of peace and stability, the profession turned out to be unclaimed. Then many otigishyu found a haven next to the courtesans, entertaining rich customers and guests. Sometimes they even gave advice to merchants. Such men began to be called geisha, hoka (intermediary) or taykomochi. The last two terms are used today. And the first woman of the Thai government appeared at a party in one of the brothels in Kyoto in 1751, which was a noisy event. And by 1780 there were more geish women than men.

Geisha men were ordinary transvestites.

In Japan, transvestite boys were nicknamed kagema. Unlike them, men-secret police in women’s clothes did not dress up, wore their hair and ordinary men’s suit.


Geisha wear bright clothes.

Students of geisha, maiko, can wear bright outfits. He considers that the abundance of red color, ornaments and variegated details indicate the inexperience and youth of the girl. These beginning geishas are still naive, not smart enough and educated. It is with the help of a dress that they attract attention.But an adult geisha is an experienced and self-assured woman who does not need a variegated outfit. She fascinates with her art.

Geisha remained in the Middle Ages.

Back in the 1920s, there were more than 10,000 representatives of this profession in Japan. At present, there are a lot less of them – only about a thousand, but they do exist. True, tourists in Japan often see disguised actors, rather than real geishas.

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